What is Energy Efficiency

What is Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency is the process of reducing energy consumption in our daily lives while maintaining the same daily activities and habits. The act of reducing energy consumption by giving up services is called energy conservation. Energy efficiency is when you replace the lamp with low-consumption fluorescent lamp – you still get the same amount of light, but use less energy. Energy conservation is when you turn off the lamp you don’t need at the moment. Both energy efficiency and energy conversation can significantly reduce your electricity bills and household greenhouse gas emissions.

Renewable energy and energy efficiency are the two main ingredients of sustainable energy policy. There are many motivations for reducing your energy consumption – from getting financial cost savings and reduction of carbon dioxide emissions to national security benefits for not having to import energy from foreign countries. International Energy Agency forecast that improvements in energy efficiency can reduce world energy consumption in 2050 by one-third.

Energy efficiency can be achieved in a variety of ways. One way is to improve existing or design new building that take advantage of natural resources to minimize energy consumption. By orienting the building south towards trees and using large windows you have passive heating and cooling. In southern hemisphere building should be facing north.You can also make proper building insulation, use double windows, well-sealed doors and add green space to reduce heat absorption. Advanced electronic systems can be quite efficient in controlling heating and cooling inside the building while proving comfort for the people inside. Another cost-effective option is to have ground source heat pump, that uses four times less energy to deliver heat that the equivalent electrical heaters do. In summertime it can be reversed and used for cooling.

Appliances are accounted for more than 10% of every household electricity usage. By replacing you old appliances with newer you might reduce their energy consumption by 50% and lower your energy bills. Many manufacturers put energy efficiency labels on all everything they sell, so the consumer is informed how much energy was used to produce the their product, but it doesn’t indicate how much energy it uses to operate. If all European households replace their more than 10-years-old appliances, 20 billion kWh electricity would be saved and 18 billion kg of CO2 emissions won’t be produced.

Many industrial processes require enormous amounts of energy for heat and mechanical forces which their produce from natural gas and petroleum fuels. A lot of energy in industry is lost due to transportation and equipment inefficiencies. Another big problem is the industrial waste. Many industries rely on steam for internal usage and they do not capture the heat from that process to use it in subsequent steps of their production processes. Old equipment if the factories worldwide can be replaced with more energy efficient one that will use less fuel for the same amount of heat while producing  fewer pollutants. Variable speed motors can reduce energy usage by up to 60% compared to their electric motor equivalent. US Department of Energy estimated that improvements in industrial processes and equipment can increase energy efficient between 20 and 50 percent.

Transportation is another candidate for energy efficient improvements. Internal combustion engines are quite inefficient – they use only 15% of fuel energy to move the vehicle. The other 85% are lost to mechanical inefficiencies. They are also wasting 65% of energy when converting fuel’s chemical energy into mechanical energy. Many manufacturers are working hard to overcome these challenges. Improved aerodynamics, reduced vehicle weight, using composite materials are just few ways for increasing energy efficiency in transportation systems. Electric vehicles and hybrids are hot trend in automotive industry lately. They have extremely low energy consumption in cities and can run about hundred kilometers on single charging.

Energy efficiency is relatively cheap way to save resources, while in contract building new power plants require tons of money initial investment. By reducing greenhouse gas emissions and industrial pollution we are taking a step further – we take care of our planet, the one our grand-grand-children will inherit from us.

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